By Nicholas Irwin
UEFA Under-21 European Championships Qualifiers
Scotland 2-1 Kazakhstan
Friday, 12 November 2021, kick-off 7:05pm
Tannadice Park, Dundee
Scotland: Fiorini (28), Middleton (66)
Kazakhstan: Samorodov (71)
Scot Gemmill's side earned a 2-1 victory over Kazakhstan tonight with Lewis Fiorini and Glenn Middleton providing the goals that secured the three points.
4 changes were made since Scotland’s narrow 1-0 defeat against Denmark. Archie Mair, Marc Leonard, Scott High, and Dapo Mebude all start, with Cieran Slicker, Ben Williamson, Adam Montgomery, and Jack Burroughs all dropped to the bench.
AS IT HAPPENED
After an edgy first few minutes from both sides, the first shot on goal arrived in the 9th minute through an out swinging corner by Kenessov which was met by a powerful header from Zhumabek only for it to thrash off the side netting.
Due to an intense press from Scotland, they were able to register their first shot on target through Rangers midfielder Stephen Kelly, who had drilled a shot into the bottom left hand corner, calling Ustimenko into action for the first time of the night.
Following Scotland having been denied a penalty, with 28 minutes on the clock, Stephen Kelly had played a through ball to set off the Manchester City academy graduate Lewis Fioroni, who delicately nutmegged the advancing Shriobokov before arrowing a strike into the bottom left-hand corner to give Scotland the lead.
Lewis Fiorini was again involved in the action during the 35th minute where he tried an audacious attempt from the half-way line after he had noticed the Kazakhstan shot stopper was off his line, however his attempt couldn’t come down quick enough resulting in his effort just going over the goal.
With a first half consisting of Scotland having the better chances, this followed suit in the second, with 56 minutes played, the ever-present Fiorini scooped a perfectly timed lobbed through ball into the path of the most experienced player in the squad Glenn Middleton, who fired it past Ustimenko on the half volley who could only watch as the ball flew past him, extending Scotland’s lead to 2-0.
Right on the hour mark, Scotland continued to pile on the pressure, from a wide freekick that was lofted into the penalty area, unfortunately for Kazakhstan this was fumbled by Ustimenko, the ball bounced up at Mebude 10 yards out, who attempted a scissor-kick however his effort just evaded the back of the net.
The midfield duo of Kelly and Fiorini continued to flourish throughout the second half, with the pair linking up again on the edge of the box with Kelly receiving the pass from Fironi and ended up past one defender, going on to round the keeper for his effort to only just miss the back of the net by skimming the post.
Scotland’s night wasn’t all plain sailing as in the 71st minute a long ball played through by Astanov was sliced by Lewis Mayo, resulting in the ball taking an awkward bounce within Scotland’s own box. A battle in the air followed, between Mair and Kazakhstan’s substitute Samorodov which was won with a glancing header by the forward, leaving an open goal for the attacker to pass into the back of the net.
In the dying minutes of the game there were a few long balls floated into Scotland’s box, however Scotland held their nerve and were able to secure their first win of this qualification campaign.
Scotland are next involved in a massive clash with the table toppers Belgium on Tuesday 16th November at Tannadice Park again at 19:05pm, aiming to replicate the performance they put on display tonight.
How Scotland Lined up
Scotland: Mair, Ashby, Welsh, Mayo, Doig, Fiorini, (Clayton 90’), Leonard, Middleton, Kelly, High, Mebude
Unused Subs: Slicker, Banks, Pressley, Montgomery, Burroughs, Williamson, Anderson, Kennedy